Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

The full Scottish

Sir: Iain Martin ('How to save the Union', 14 May) has an excellent appreciation of the issues, bar one: what Scotland seeks is a return to statehood such as other nations have. The lack is grievous.

Scotland does not have representation in important international bodies. We lack a commissioner in the European Commission and both diplomatic and consular services worldwide. Fishing is not within our control. England, anticipating events, recently gerrymandered the sea boundaries, tilting them northeastward, to her advantage in oil and gas. There is more to independence than separation from England.

Helen C. Bovey


Sir: Charles Moore (The Spectator's Notes, 14 May) claims that most English people are apathetic about Scots independence.

Not so. I am all for it, but think we English should be allowed a referendum, too. In fact, an English referendum on splitting from Scotland should come first, as its results would be of interest to the Scots.

Having been ruled by the Scots for over a decade before the coalition, I would welcome independence from Scotland, as they seem mostly to be socialists. The Shetland Islands should be encouraged to remain British, though. Not difficult, as they don't regard themselves as Scots.

Andrew Levens

By email

Crossing the border

Sir: I wonder if you will pass on to John Duffield of Essex (Letters, 14 May) the email addresses of Scotland's newspapers so that he can send his thoughts on to a wide audience up here. I can think of nothing that would gain the SNP more support for independence than the combination of malice and contempt he expresses for us.

From this side of the border, the impression given by commentators and letter-writers in England in response to the SNP victory is verging on hysteria.

For years, the government bench in the Commons declared that if people in Scotland voted for independence, then like good democrats the establishment at Westminster and the English people would accept our decision. It seems that principle applied only until independence became a possibility. And yet we in the SNP are having a discussion about a model of independence that takes, as far as is possible, the needs of the English state into account. For example I, despite lifelong opposition to nuclear weapons, have been advocating the leasing of the Trident base to England so that its seat at the UN is not jeopardised.

Jim Sillars

Former deputy leader, SNP, Edinburgh

What dooms the Lib Dems

Sir: James Forsyth (Politics, 14 May) has missed an important point. A year ago, when the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition government with the Conservatives, they were given a once in-a-lifetime opportunity to show that they could act responsibly and cohesively and are therefore fit to govern. …

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